ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Nine Intrepid Fans

ECO-Tours has put out the call for help from our followers, our tribe as it were. We are wordsmithing and redesigning a flyer and would like trusted eyes to see what they would change/improve. Your suggestions will be humbly accepted and as we embark on our next journey, we will be able to connect with more people, the better our materials are, so those who choose to join us in this task, consider yourself thanked in advance!

We can offer to either e-mail you a PDF format copy or send hard copy if you prefer the feel of paper in your hands. The draft we have is pretty rough, so don't be afraid to tear it apart or completyely start over. We need a clear, concise way to encourage readers to host classes and/or enough information to inspire them to become students.

At a cost of $35, the value is many times higher! Every bed that I have added biochar to has yielded double the harvests! What I am going to offer, only through this blog is that our helpers on the flyer project become eligible for a half off the baker's dozen special, instead of getting a free class with a dozen paid students, you can get the free class with only six paid students! Half the work for the host, twice the time to practice your technique!

Twelve sided structure encloses maximum space with minimum of material.
It is well to realize that the current conditions exist because we humans, or our ancestors, did something in the past. We humans made the decision to set ourselves at odds with nature, or outright against her. Mother Earth is beyond our ability to quantify, so the raping of the planet is beyond our comprehension. The living planet presents far too many relationships to keep track of all of, so we may never understand the depth of our damage. It does not take any great stretch of the imagination to understand that the dust bowl days blew away nearly all the humus on the Great Plains. Precious soil that mother Nature builds at the rate of only one inch every ten thousand years. It left. There were reports of ships having great storms of dust 300 miles out at sea, where after the storm, they would have to sweep dirt and mud off the hull. Those soils were lost from Kansas, Oklahoma, and a dozen other western states, remnants of those soils may still be settling to the bottom. More important for this post, they never came back. Using biochar, and aggressive composting, we can build soils at thousands of times the rate that nature would, but when we do, it is best to do it in raised bed situations where footfalls can be eliminated. soil, especially healthy soil, has air in it, any footfall or traffic can compact the ground, leading to less healthy conditions.

Another secret to maximizing soil creation is mulch. In addition to keeping soils well composted, mulch helps keep ultraviolet rays from the Sun from sterilizing the soil  surface. Intact mulch helps to preserve soil organisms that help moderate conditions and whose waste products are important parts of the soil biome. It may seem out of place, to include a picture of the earthship (dodecagon) design, but it helps to imagine the microbial landscape as well. Even the tiniest organisms reflect the compact shape...conditions can be menacing, so they expend as little on outside as possible to contain and protect their vital protoplasm and structures. Like us, microbes are over 2/3 water and they too help to stabilize soil temperatures and moisture. Sheer mass of microbes in healthy soil equals about the combined weight of a cow and her calf, per acre! Biochar has fourteen acres of surface area per handful. Slowly, let those two ideas merge and play in your mind for a while. Fourteen acres of surface area. If that amount of area were to be colonized with as many microbes as healthy soil contains, it is like adding a mass of microbe to the soil equivalent in mass to fourteen cows and fourteen calves. These microscopic plants and creatures metabolize carbohydrates, fats, protein, etc, creating heat and  exchange gasses, just like we do. I have a few beds that have had biochar added at a rate of one kilo per cubic meter (2.2 pounds to 1.2 sq. yards.) and these soils always produce an extra two weeks in fall, freeze up as much as one moon later and in sporing are ready to go that much earlier in Spring because the microbial community is thriving in them. They thaw out sooner and are ready to plant a few weeks sooner than similar untreated areas.

Getting these concepts encapsulated in just a few words is the main mission of this effort. If we could get the thrust of the message down to just nine words, or less, which ones would they be? Reverse atmospheric carbon one fire at a time? Begin sequestering carbon today? Roast wood for posterity? What do you think would motivate people the best?

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